|I love how shiny the chocolate is!|
(I set it on top of my organizer, so ignore the sorry background!)
Here is another recipe from Stephanie Tourles’ book, Raw Energy. This is a reworking of a classic chocolate treat, turtles, which combines chocolate, caramel and nuts. People have reworked turtles, but never like this! I have successfully enjoyed this treat and didn’t feel guilty one bit. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Have a sweet treat, don’t deprive yourself, and don’t feel bad about it either!
To demonstrate how much better this recipe is in terms of ingredients, I thought I’d compare it to a recipe for regular chocolate turtles. I went to http://www.cooks.com/ because it had an actual recipe for chocolate turtles. Other places had recipes for chocolate turtle pie, cheesecake, brownies. Not exactly what I was looking for. (Did I mention people had reworked the turtle recipe? Wow!) Anyway, I found a recipe that seemed simple and was the classic chocolate turtle treat with nuts, caramel and chocolate. You can click here to go to the recipe I found, but the ingredient list includes caramels, evaporated milk, pecans, butter, chocolate chips and vegetable oil.
The caramels are cooked butter and sugar, the evaporated milk is processed, cooked and canned, the pecans are, well, pecans, the butter is probably pasteurized, and the chocolate chips are full of sugar and processed chocolate. And, most likely the vegetable oil is probably soy, which I choose to avoid. (To find out why, see this post.)
Now, compare all those processed, sugary ingredients with the ingredients for Ms. Tourles’ turtles: raw almond butter, raw cocoa (cacao) powder, raw agave nectar, raw pecan halves. Four ingredients with no butter and no extra sugar. Granted, there’s no caramel substitute. But, believe me, once you try it, you won’t care that there’s no caramel. If you like chocolate and nuts, you’ll love this version. And, it is so easy!
Basically, the recipe is equal parts almond butter and cocoa powder, with half the amount of agave nectar. For example, if you use ½ cup almond butter, you’ll use ½ cup cocoa powder and ¼ cup agave nectar. Put these three ingredients in a bowl and slowly stir together. You have to go slow because the cocoa powder is so loose and light. Eventually, you’ll see it mixing and becoming a dark chocolate mass. Once it is all incorporated, pinch off small pieces and roll them into balls, placing the balls on wax paper. Gently press your chosen nut, whether that is classic pecans or what-I-have-on-hand almonds, onto the top of each ball. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
Ms. Tourles recommends an 8-inch pan, but I just lined a large rectangular tupperware with wax paper. This was very convenient for covering, chilling and storing. Ms. Tourles also says she likes to store them in the freezer (for up to 3 months), where they “become quite firm but still chewy”. Mine were a little too hard when coming out of the freezer, so I prefer to keep them in the fridge, where they can be stored in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 weeks.
So, I’ve included a picture of my almond-topped turtles. I love how easy this recipe is, and they really are delicious. The almond butter gives you good fats, and if you make it yourself, you know there are no preservatives or additives. The agave nectar is a wonderful sweetener that won’t give you a sugar rush or crash later. And, of course, the almonds are full of fiber, good fats, protein and all kinds of good stuff. The cacao powder – well, that’s up for some debate. I suppose chocolate is still chocolate. But, I for one am happy to have a yummy alternative to a chocolate treat loaded with sugar and butter.